Leonard Woolf

With his wife Virginia, Leonard Woolf ‘discovered’ Charleston in 1916. The Woolfs remained permanent country neighbours and were frequent visitors to Charleston.

Leonard Woolf was a writer and a political theorist. He studied at Cambridge alongside other members of the Bloomsbury group such as Clive Bell, Lytton Strachey and Thoby Stephen. In 1912, Stephen’s younger sister, Virginia, and Woolf got married.

Together they ‘discovered’ Charleston in 1916, and advised Virginia’s sister, Vanessa Bell, to rent the property. The Woolfs had their own house in the country nearby – Asheham House – and were regular visitors to Charleston.

Together, Leonard and Virginia Woolf founded the Hogarth Press in 1917. Initially a hobby in which they hand-printed books, they went on to publish works by Sigmund Freud, T.S.Eliot, E.M.Forster and Vita Sackville West. Vanessa Bell designed many of the book covers.

Over the course of his long life Leonard was a literary editor and journalist, a political writer, active in promoting the League of Nations and on various Labour Party committees. He was also the author of two novels, books on international relations, and five volumes of autobiography.

In 1941, Virginia Woolf committed suicide, and in a final letter to her husband she wrote:

‘You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier until this disease came. […] What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good.’